It was lovely learning weather for Take A Child Outside Week and LS Dot Day. Thank you to Donna Wilcox for her TACO photos and Hector Morales for the Dot Day aerial shots.
The first day of the 2020-21 school year may not have had all the ceremony and pageantry of years past, but it did have the one thing that really matters: students and teachers reconnecting to begin the next chapter of Country Day’s history.
Wright and Schaumann Earn Auditions for National Orchestra Festival
Violist Cecilia Wright ’21 and violinist Florence Schaumann ’22 both advanced from the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Central Region Orchestra Festival to the All-State Festival. While this year’s All-State Festival was cancelled, the girls’ scores allow them to audition for next year’s National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Orchestra Festival and the National Orchestra Festival, two highly competitive orchestras consisting of the top players in the country.
By Beky Weidner
Last fall a handful of students had the opportunity to have their pieces fired in a wood kiln at a studio in downtown Lancaster. In January, students created and donated 40 bowls to the Opportunity House in Reading for their Empty Bowls event, and finally a group of 30 students took a field trip to a ceramics exhibit at Landis Homes by Dennis Maust, where they had the opportunity to hear Dennis talk about his work and ask him questions.
By Christopher Matthews ’20
In June of 2019, Ms. Wolanin announced to the LCDS Theater Company that the winter musical would be “All Shook Up!” We were excited to perform whatever she could throw at us, but nobody had heard of this musical before. Little did we know, “All Shook Up!” would change all of our lives for the better.
As auditions approached, our excitement was through the roof. We learned a grueling dance routine (which later became the dance break of “Jailhouse Rock!”) and had to memorize multiple songs, all in a few short days. The days before the cast list’s release are always some of the most stressful times in the company, and this show was no different. Tensions ran high until the 22 cast members accepted their roles with glee.
From the beginning, everyone in the company knew that “All Shook Up!” would be one of the biggest productions that the Steinman Theatre had ever seen, but after a few rehearsals, we truly realized the massive scale of the production.
Typically our shows take place on one set, but “All Shook Up!” requires many distinct locations that could not possibly be condensed into a single set. We needed to figure out how to use every single inch of space backstage to store different pieces of furniture while more than 20 actors scrambled to make their entrances on time.
The further we got in the process, the bigger the show seemed to become, but with a fighting spirit (and a lack of snow days), we charged into tech week.
It took us almost two full days to set up the lights, sound, and scene changes for the show, a process that normally takes only a few hours. While this was happening, the crew organized the backstage and the actors feverishly reviewed their lines and the musical numbers.
“All Shook Up!” features more than 25 different iconic Elvis songs, all of which have challenging harmonies and difficult high notes. Our vocal director, Mr. Woodbridge, masterfully taught the ensemble all of the music in less than two months while also teaching the principal characters their solos during office hours.
As opening night approached, our nerves were through the roof, following the same path our excitement had taken before auditions.
Because we didn’t have school on Friday, traditionally one of our busiest nights, many more students and faculty decided to come to the Thursday night production. The house was packed.
After our pre-show warmups, Ms. Wolanin delivered a heartwarming pep talk that reminded us to stay grounded and to have fun. The seniors looked to opening night with a bittersweet excitement. “All Shook Up!” was the swan song for many of the 17 seniors, so every single one of us wanted to give it 100 percent.
Opening night could not have gone better because of the tremendous amount of energy from the cast and audience. Thursday’s show led us into an extremely successful weekend of theater in which we sold out two of our four shows. As we struck the set on Sunday after everything was over, the exhaustion had begun to set in, but we could not have been more thrilled with the work we put in. We put on a grueling production, but we gained a whole new appreciation for one of the most iconic performers of all time in the process.
The sixth grade FLL team isn’t hard to spot, even without the traffic-cone hats. They’ve got the skills, machines, and trophies that mark them as part of Country Day’s fledgling — and thriving — Robotics program.
Assistant Head of School Todd Trout took the stage to congratulate the sixth grade FLL (First LEGO League) squad for their second place finish at the Pennsylvania State Championships last month. The result earned the team a berth in the Razorback Invitational May 16-18 in Fayetteville, Ark., where they will compete against 80 other teams from around the world.
“Within a short time we’ve established a tradition of excellence, and that’s something to truly be proud of,” Trout said, and the assembled Middle Schoolers roared their approval.
The Upper Schoolers compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a competition in which teams build and program a robot to complete specific tasks on a common course. Every team starts with the same parts and has to write the robot’s code in the same programming language, but other than that, each group designs a unique robot they hope will be the most capable on the course.
This year, the Upper School FTC team has earned a first place Programming Award, a first place Outreach Award, two third place Champions Awards, as well as a spot in the Pennsylvania State Championships in March.
Stay tuned for excellence updates.